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While in-depth research was once confined to reference libraries and organizations with access to years’ worth of copies of academic journals, much of the work of original research can now be done online.Major repositories of academic research like JSTOR and Lexis Nexis can now be searched comprehensively online, and even Google has an easy-to-use scholarly search engine.Consult the school's library webpage, or call the library directly, to find out to which academic search engines they subscribe to and whether or not you'd be allowed into the library to access them.
There are a handful of free, publicly available academic search engines that can be accessed online; some of these are listed in Table 1, below.
The remainder, like the ISI Web of Science, are subscription-based.
With these five tools and eight research paper tips, you can enhance your own learning process and set yourself up for success as an online college student.
Google Scholar is a search engine that draws from an expansive database of scholarly articles.
Note: The results of academic search engines come in the form of an abstract, which you can read to determine if the paper is relevant to your science project, as well as a full citation (author, journal title, volume, page numbers, year, etc.) so that you can find a physical copy of the paper.
Search engines do not necessarily contain the full text of the paper for you to read.When you start your background research, one of the early steps is finding and reading the scientific literature related to your science project (see the Roadmap: How to Get Started On an Advanced Science Project article for more details on project steps).Mentors are a great resource for recommendations about which scientific papers are critical for you to read and you should definitely ask your mentor, or another expert in the field, for advice.Online libraries, journals, databases, and academic search engines are a great resource for graduate students and Ph D students, as well as people at any level of education who are working on in-depth research.The subject matter contained in these sites covers many academic disciplines, but it would be impossible to cover all of them in one list.Universities and colleges often subscribe to academic search engines.If you can't find what you need using a free search engine, you may be able to access these resources from computers in a university or college library.The pages you get back will be a wide mixture of websites, and very few will be links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.To find scientific literature, the best thing to use is an academic search engine. Some focus on a single discipline, while others have citations from multiple fields.Academic research is the heart of any masters or Ph D program.While graduate level students must still take courses, the bulk of their work is focused on doing original research and writing a compelling paper that they will then have to defend in front of a panel of professors or others with expertise in the field.